If the Los Angeles Lakers are hoping to make the NBA Playoffs this season, then they’re going to have to make their final push without the services of four-time NBA All-Star Pau Gasol.
According to a report by Mark Medina of the Daily News Los Angeles, Lakers head coach Mike D’Antoni believes Gasol will be unable to return to action during the regular season after being diagnosed with a Torn Plantar Fascia in his right foot back in early February.
“By the time he gets back, we’ll be in or out,” D’Antoni said. “His impact will be in the playoffs if we get there.”
The Lakers currently sit one game under .500 with a record of 28-29, which is ninth-best in the Western Conference. They find themselves just 2.5 games back of the Houston Rockets for the eighth and final playoff spot after winning eight of their last 11 games.
Gasol was originally expected to miss four to six weeks, but it appears now that his injury will keep him out longer than expected.
The teams schedule in the month of March is brutal, as nine of their 14 games will be on the road. Los Angeles is only 10-18 away from Staples Center this season.
“I don’t think anyone on this team is counting the days for Pau to come back because we don’t have time,” Lakers guard Steve Nash said. “Although we’d welcome him back this instance, we have to move on and try to win games without him.”
Pau was averaging 13.4 points on 45% shooting from the field, as well as 8.0 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.3 blocks in 36 games before his injury.
With the countless trade rumors and his $19.3 million dollar expiring contract for next season, could this be the last time we see Gasol wearing the purple and gold?